Corona: Strengthen the Immune System with Healthy Nutrition

A healthy diet does not prevent infection with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. However, certain foods strengthen the immune system. Tips for cooking in Corona times.

Cooking with fresh and healthy ingredients strengthens your immune system, lifts your spirits, and helps your body fight infections. A balanced diet cannot offer protection against infection with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to specifically support the immune system with certain foods.

This is how healthy foods affect the immune system

  • Ginger contains a lot of pungent substances called gingerols. They relieve inflammation and have an antibacterial effect, helping with gastrointestinal infections, mild inflammation, and the onset of colds.
  • This also applies to turmeric, black pepper, and chili peppers.
  • Lentils are rich in zinc. The body needs the trace element for cell division, among other things. It’s good when vulnerable cells can be replaced quickly. Without zinc, the immune system cannot form antibodies either. Lentils also contain selenium and iron. Selenium protects the cells of the skin and mucous membranes, iron is indispensable for the oxygen transport of the blood.
  • Offal contains the most selenium, but mushrooms are a good alternative. Oatmeal also contains the trace element selenium.
  • Wheat bran and pumpkin seeds are also good sources of iron and zinc.
  • Onions and garlic contain allicin. The amino acid increases the body’s production of enzymes that protect cells from attacks by so-called free radicals. Free radicals can destroy the body’s own cells.
  • The dietary fibers contained in lamb’s lettuce and flaxseed not only ensure a feeling of satiety but are also good for the intestinal flora. 80 percent of the immune cells are located in the intestine.
  • Brussels sprouts and broccoli contain a lot of vitamin C, which is important for the immune system.
  • Brussels sprouts are also rich in folic acid and iron. The body needs both for blood formation. Broccoli is rich in selenium, important for the immune system.
  • Carrots are very good sources of vitamin A. It nourishes our skin and mucous membranes and keeps them supple. This gives pathogens fewer chances.
  • Fennel is rich in essential oils that are good for digestion.
  • No other vegetable contains more mustard oils than horseradish: when inhaled, they ensure good blood circulation and moisten the nasal mucosa. Horseradish is recognized as a medicinal plant. It can relieve inflammation in the throat, make it easier to expectorate and calm the bronchi.
  • Linseed oil has a healthy ratio of fatty acids. Its secondary plant substances protect cells from so-called free radicals.
  • Vegetable oils contain a particularly large amount of vitamin E. This ensures, among other things, that our immune cells grow healthily.
  • Radishes are high in vitamin C and mustard oils.
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and plain yogurt contain what are known as probiotics. These living microorganisms are good for our gut.

Mood influences the immune system: These foods put you in a good mood

If regions in the brain are active that trigger negative feelings, the activity of the immune system decreases. The ingredients in these foods can improve mood:

  • Asparagus contains plenty of B vitamins, which are involved in the production of messenger substances such as serotonin. The folic acid in asparagus can also have a positive effect on mood.
  • The body reacts to hot spices such as pepper and chili by releasing endorphins.
  • Mushrooms such as button mushrooms or shiitake are rich in vitamin D and selenium. Both substances can contribute to a good mood.

Be careful when seasoning with salt: According to a recent study, too much salt in food can inhibit the immune system. More than six grams a day is bad, especially in Corona times.

Be careful with dietary supplements

Experts take a critical view of vitamin preparations and other dietary supplements that promise strong defenses. Because even if they are not drugs, dietary supplements can also lead to overdoses. And if they are used for too long, they can promote deficiencies in other trace elements and minerals that are also important.

Vitamin D is the exception

The only exception is vitamin D because our body produces this vitamin itself under the influence of sunlight. In the winter months, the solar radiation in our latitudes is too low to ensure an adequate vitamin D supply. The consequences are susceptibility to infections, fatigue, and reduced performance. Therefore, healthy adults should take 800-1,000 units of vitamin D daily.

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